Post Tagged with: "movies"

Nobel Chemist Trades Grades for Sex

The video below is of the most awesome Nobel chemist ever. He tells his class to kiss his A**, is generally arrogant, trades grades for sex, and gets blackmailed by his own son.

Movie comes out later this year for wide release, title is Nobel Son.


By December 2, 2008 8 comments fun

The Interface of Rose Bowls and Priestly Medals

Few equate chemistry with (American) football.  You could imagine my surprise to see that this year’s chemistry SURP program featured a guest lecturer that would cover the symbiotic relationship between ethics and athletics.  My freshman year of college, I had a philosophy professor that taught Aristotle’s Nicomachean ethics through a football analogy, but that’s the closest I’ve ever made a connection between scholarly aptitude and a rugged manly sport.  After getting “special permission” from the department to attend (I’m definitely not a SURP student), I got the rare opportunity to sit in the same room with a prominent sports figure—the head coach of our University’s football team.

Those who know me will probably know which coach I’m talking about, but for the sake of anonymity, I’ll simply refer to him as “Coach.”  Arriving a few minutes late, “Coach” darted through the door and up to the head of the classroom avoiding eye contact.  Truthfully, I saw no difference between his social manner and most other profs (no smiling, reasonably polite yet focused).  Rather than stand in a traditional lecturing position, Coach elected to sit at eye level with the 20 of us (some of whom were there to bombard him with football questions).  He started the discussion by saying, “I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to talk about, but this’ll be pretty informal.  I figure I’ll talk about ethics from my perspective then answer any questions you guys have, except about the football team.”  That was a pretty reasonable request because if I were hypothetically in a room with Terry Francona, he probably wouldn’t want me to ask why he hadn’t benched Manny Ramirez weeks ago.

The crux of Coach’s discussion was two-fold and actually quite simple: (a) goal setting is paramount to excellence and (b) you have to learn to overcome anything that gets in the way of preventing you from reaching your goals.  He offered up this story:

“I asked one of my wide receivers, ‘what’s your goal for the year.’  And, he says, ‘Coach, I want to catch 50 passes this season.’  That’s not a goal.  That’s an end result.  His goal should be to push himself to become a better player so that you are able to catch 50 passes…Now, if you mix distractions into the equation, you’ve introduced another hurdle to cross for you to reach your goal.”

At one point, Coach drew on King’s street sweeper quotation.  For those of you who are not familiar here it is:

“If you are called to be a street sweeper, sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”

Coach’s overall message?  Give it everything you have and you can sleep easy at night knowing you did your best.  “It” in his case is defined as hard work on the football field.

That night I tried to distill away the football and civil rights references to understand how I could apply Coach’s lessons to my job/education as a chemist.  I asked myself, “should I focus on making sure I have 25 papers before I leave grad school (I know, it’s a dream) or should I spend more time on developing my skills to be the best chemist I can be so that I can give my best at trying to get 25 papers before graduate school.”  Ultimately I arrived at the later option. 

I realize that while I do give an honest effort on most days, there’s always room for improvement.  I argue that the blogging, literature searching and even podcasts I listen to are making me become a smarter scientist.  But, do I really need to be listening to the new Tantric album while I’m trying to think my way through a reaction, for example?  Should I eliminate my distractions (including occasional, social interaction) and maintain focus at all times?  When do you call it a day?  8 hours?  13?  20?  When is the job truly done?  How do you correctly balance work and family/personal time?  Perhaps I don’t have a good objective answer to any of these questions.  But I’ll tell you that my lab bench and desk are now the cleanest and distraction-free they’ve been in a while.  Let’s see how long this lasts.


P.S.  I definitely plan on seeing the new X-Files movie this weekend (I own an “Asian Collectors Edition” of seasons 1-9).  It appears to have bad reviews, but I’m a diehard fan, so I’ll go see it anyway.  How about you?

By July 25, 2008 6 comments opinion

Wanted (the movie)

So I know that this doesn’t qualify as a chemistry post, but it’s still pretty darn cool.

Earlier today, Mitch scored some free pre-screening tickets for a movie called Wanted with Angelina Jolie in it.  There was some white guy in it too, as the main character, but I didn’t really know or care who he was.  In fact, I had no idea what the movie was about until we went and saw it.  When Mitch told me that Angelina Jolie was in it, I accepted the invitation.

So he got the tickets through Techcrunch, a blog that focuses on reviewing new tech. products (mostly internet products) and companies.  It was a first come first serve sort of contest and Mitch happened to log onto their website just it was posted.  He got two tickets, and we drove out to the Metreon theater San Francisco.

We get there and get in line, and find out that there are about 250-300 ppl coming to see this prescreening.  Many people got their tickets through techcrunch, allowing us that always sweet line cut since they had a separate ticket check system.  The Myspace ppl, on the other hand, were stuck in line, cursing us as we went past.  I think I forgot to mention that the event was cosponsored by techcrunch and Myspace.

Seeing a movie in a prescreening is pretty darn cool.  It was kinda like going to see a movie at the opening show.  The whole crowd gets into it and sort of participates in the movie.  Apparently there is a sort of “movie prescreen” subculture as evidenced by the fact that many of the movie goers knew each other from other prescreens and were discussing the latest events; some bemoaning their inability to secure Wally prescreen tickets.

Anyways, the movie itself was really freaking cool.  It is a super action, fast-paced thriller i guess with some cheese, cool music, and a light attitude.  It wasn’t all serious, which would have totally ruined the movie.  Both Mitch and I were amazed to find ourselves actually liking the movie a lot, and I see it becoming a total guy movie-night classic.

Also cool, was that I came home and watched the daily show only to find James McAvoy (the name of the main character) as the guest.  Apparently he has heavy scottish accent that.  During the movie though, I had no idea that he wasn’t American.  I guess he is a pretty good actor.

So yeah, that’s my movie pitch.  After seeing one of the most entertaining, if not really interesting, movies I have seen in a looong time, I had to go and blabber about it.  Another bonus was of course seeing Angelina Jolie looking oh-so gorgeous again.

Heh, and I saw a lot of other ppl blogging or talking about blogging about it, so I had to add my two cents.

By June 23, 2008 4 comments Uncategorized